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Yurok Tribal Ordinances



Section 1- Authority:

The Yurok Tribal Court pursuant to the Judicial Branch Ordinance Adopted by the Yurok Tribal Council and consistent with the responsibilities assigned the Court by the Yurok Tribal Council in that Ordinance as directed by the Constitution of the Yurok Tribe, as ratified on November 19, 1993 establishes the following regulations for the purpose of governing the practice of representatives before the Yurok Tribal Court.

Section 2- Purpose:

The Yurok Tribal Court in order to meet it’s responsibilities as set out in the Judicial Branch Ordinance finds that it is necessary for the integrity of the Yurok judicial system that the practice of representatives before the Yurok Tribal Court be regulated. Implementation of the regulation of said representatives is the responsibility of the Chief Justice of the Yurok Tribal Court who is entrusted with the duty to administer the Court. The purpose of these regulations is to insure that the Yurok people and all people who appear before the Court are supported by knowledgeable, supportive person(s) who understand the applicable law and are respectful of the culture, practices and procedures of the Yurok people and the Yurok Tribal Court.

Section 3- Jurisdiction:

The jurisdiction of the Yurok Tribe to enforce these Regulations shall extend to all Yurok tribal “territory” and the areas within the exterior boundaries of the “reservation” as defined in Article I, Sections 1 through 3 of the Constitution of the Yurok Tribe.

Section 4- Definitions:

As used in these Regulations the following words and phrases shall each have the designated meaning unless a different meaning is expressly provided or the context clearly requires a different meaning:

  • “Attorney” means a person who is licensed to practice law in any State or the District of Columbia and is currently in good standing with the Bar Association of that entity.
  • “Advocate” means a person who is or seeks to be licensed by the Yurok Tribe to practice before the Court who has been admitted to another Tribal Bar, and/or seeks to practice without having been admitted to any Bar. May or may not be a graduate of a law school and/or received paralegal training.
  • “Bar” means the Yurok Bar Association unless otherwise defined.
  • “Bar Examination” means the Yurok Bar Examination that will be administered by the Court.
  • “Court” means the Yurok Tribal Court unless otherwise defined.
  • “Interested person” is a person appearing in any matter before the Court with the permission of the Court who is assisting the Court in resolving a dispute or concern.
  • “Mediator” means a person who has completed a course approved by the Court and who is approved by the Court to assist people coming before the Court to resolve the problem(s) which bring them before the Court.
  • “Spokesperson” means a person who by request of a party or interested person is assisting that person present their concerns to the Court. A spokesperson appears by the approval of the Court only.

Section 5- Admissions Requirements:

Applicants for admission to practice before the Court in any capacity except Spokesperson must meet the following qualifications:

  • Must meet the general terms of qualifications as set out in Section 5a) Article III of the Yurok Constitution except that where the term of 10 years is specified the term of 5 years is substituted. Must file an application with the Court setting forth their qualifications. Any applicant must agree to notify the Chief Judge within 30 days of any occurrence that would bring them in violation of the general terms of qualifications.
  • Must take and pass the Yurok Bar Examination. That examination shall be open book and administered by the Court from a set of materials that will be available to any and all applicants.
  • Must conduct themselves in a fashion that respects the individuals involved in the Court process and is consistent with the sovereign rights and responsibilities set out in the Preamble of the Yurok Constitution and inherent in Yurok cultural practices.

Section 6- Special Appearances and/or Special Admissions:

The following will be admitted to practice with out having to otherwise meet the requirements for practice prior to admission:

  1. All persons admitted to practice on or before August 13, 2010.
  2. All persons hired by the Tribe to act as a Judicial Officer.
  3. All persons hired by the Tribe or a Tribal entity to act as an attorney, advocate, or mediator.
  4. Any attorney licensed to practice in any State or the District of Columbia may specially appear in up to 5 separate cases per year without being admitted to the Bar.
  5. Any advocate admitted to practice in any Tribe may specially appear in up to 5 separate cases per year without being admitted to the Bar.
  6. Any mediator having been approved by the Court may specially appear in up to 5 separate cases per year without being admitted to the Bar.


Section 7- Regulation of Practice, Including Suspensions and Expulsions:

It will be the responsibility of the Chief Justice to create and administer the Bar system. The Chief Justice may delegate administrative tasks to senior Court staff but remains responsible for the creation and administration of the system. That includes determining the administrative requirements of admission; requirements of continued practice; and the rules of suspension and expulsion. The Chief Judge will have final authority on determining the following matters or any other matters reasonably related to the administration of the Bar, the contents of the Bar Examination: the acceptability of any application, including determining whether offered experience for any category is sufficient to meet the standards of the Court; establishment of practice requirements; and all suspension and/or expulsion matters.


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